Wednesday, March 18, 2009

'Marxism for Our Times' as a Foil

This analytical brief is a response to a debate on my ideological position - whether I am a Marxist or not - that was sparked by the following quote that I fowarded to what is 'Left of Tanzanian Marxists' rhetorically asking them if they are taking such an advantage of this situation, that is, the ongoing global financial crisis to espouse the enduring prowess of 'Marxist Analysis':

"You have to continue to study Marxism as a special group because fortunately today a great deal of the conclusions of Marxism are seen by everybody. You haven't to do what Lenin and Marx had to do, to preach and teach Marxism so that people could understand. The world has objectively moved to where people only have to look and listen to understand Marxism. That is what Marx pointed out that capitalist production would do, make all the people understand their conditions of life and their relations with their kind. The objective world has reached that stage. That makes it all the more necessary for Marxists to master and learn from and continue the great tradition" - CLR James in 'Marxism for our Times' page. 65
To a Forwardist, Marxism is only an analytical toolkit just like any other radical analytical framework that can only be discretionaly employed in achieving Nkrumah's Pan-African Forwardist call "Forward Ever, Backward Never". In the Exodus discourse it is summed up in that 'Let-My-People-Go' directive: "We will not turn to the right hand nor to the left." What a Forwardist subscribes to is close to what has been referred to as 'The Third Way.' In a way Mwalimu Nyerere tried to be a Tanzanian Forwardist when he affirmed that his stance "is opposed to capitalism, which seeks to build a happy society on the basis of the exploitation of man by man; and it is equally opposed to doctrinaire socialism which seeks to build its happy society on a philosophy of inevitable conflict between man and man."

An African Forwardist, for that is indeed what I proclaim to be, is someone who has not only realized or made to discover the limitation of adopting theoretical frameworks out of Euro-American - whether from the then Eatern Bloc or Western Bloc - no matter how radical they are without developing our own theoretical frameworks borne out of our local social-historical and material conditions, but has also deliberately opted to Search for African Alternartives instead of dogmatically embracing Marxism for Euro-American Times and other Ideologies/Theories Made in Euro-America or Made in ASEAN. After all "theories and practices do not emerge out of an ideological vacuum."

If you claim to be an African Forwadist, then, you are someone who has decided to move beyond this Cul-de-Sac, aptly described by Issa Shivji, that many of our African Marxists have opted to remain in even though they knew/know very well that it was/is a dead end for Africa: "Some of us who adopted more radical approaches, albeit still within Western traditions, did not perhaps subscribe wholly to Thompson's thesis that the rule of law was an 'unqualified good'. Yet we, too, saw in bourgeois law and legality, space for struggle to advance the social project of human liberation and emancipation. Law, we argued, was a terrain of struggle; that rule of law, while expressing and reinforcing the rule of the bourgeoisie, did also represent the achievement of the working classes; that even though bourgeois democracy was a limited class project, it was an advance over authoritarian orders and ought to be defended. The legal discourse, whether liberal or radical, thus remained rooted in Western values, exalting the Law's Empire."

May the new generation of forward-looking Marxist and Non-Marxist Africans and true Friends of Africa pay attention to the thoughts/theories and practices/praxis of their society from the perspectives of their own people lest they ignore the fact that most "African Marxist projects in the 1960s ignored the complexity of their own epistemological roots and thus erased the paradoxes of their own discourse and practice" ('The Idea of Africa' page 41). May prospective African Forwadists pick a leaf from this Forwadist Alternative: "To create myths which would give a meaning to its hope of improvement, Africa seems to hesitate between two principal sources, Marxist and traditionalist, and to worry endlessly about the evidence about the superiority of the Same over the Other and the possible virtues of the inverse relationship. But a discrete and controversial current has quietly developed since 1954, the date of the publication of Cheick Anta Diop's Nations negres et culture. To many, this current appears as the only reasonable alternative to the present disorder. Using Marxism as a foil, it intends to study African tradition in depth, affirming the cultural unity of precolonial Africa, linguistic kinship, and a common historical past" ('The Invention of Africa' page 97).

Saturday, March 14, 2009


In response to a thread on the subject line mentioned & a circulating email as posted to Wanazuoni:

As the wisdom goes, any generalization is a lie. However, for the purpose of provoking debates, generalization statements do work. There are certain issues from certain cultures that may encourage a particular way of life which is not to be encouraged, certainly. Those issues need to be addressed as they are, on a case by case basis. Once you politicize the subject incorrectly, once you create groups of us and them, then the real issues don't get addressed. This is the sad story of human history and development, politics of power and greed. Some fall prey into this trend unknowingly, like how the posted thread refers in general as "blacks".

My intent with this response, is not to address the core problems such as UDSM or grand corruption and selfish tendencies of "what is in for me" kind of attitude - which I am sure most will agree that all these issues as stated, needs to be addressed effectively without using labels. Certainly, the "me" "me" syndrome as availed by some contributors does indeed require society attention and redress. By the way, you get this in the West BIG time. There are other pressing societal anomalies such as corruption (which exists all over the world in different shapes and forms), laziness or not working to the full capacity, excuses for not delivering, etc - you name it, these are real problems and indeed need to to be addressed, and that is where the effort ought to be put in. Let us put that as a focus for another day's discussion.

Deliberately, my focus here today is on the labeling we so happily embrace consciously and unconsciously.

Straight to the point, I simply ask who are these so called "blacks" with a capital C or lower c? Think of it, why does it have to be an issue on what colour of pigmentation ones skin is? Don't just go on the bandwagon! The world has embraced these kinds of politics for centuries and centuries, in all sorts of cultures, and you know what? It works for mostly the establishments and the rulers. If the so called "blacks" today where the powerful across the globe, and influenced all the literatures and references such that the heaven where supposedly some will say the creator is, is "black" and anything "black" was supposedly so great, and at the same time anything "white" evolved in the historical context to refer as "white" as we today refer anything "black" today, the obligation to the people of the world would still have been the same, to ask the same questions such as what are these labels for? Aren't these labels promoting racism, the very notion we all so proudly say we are fighting against and keen to rid off?

We should refuse to be put into categories and labels. We should not refuse to listen to each other, work together, accept where problems are on issues, agree how to address and then act on agreements, while reviewing on an ongoing basis with view to see significant progress. That is what matters and what needs to be done, but not getting bogged down and subscribing into the old fashioned, silly trap of so called "blacks", "whites" or "yellows".

Unfortunately, most of the time than not, ordinary people like you and I, don't even reflect and ask why do these people want to call me a Black person or a White person? They even want to record it on paper somewhere! Am I really "white" or "black"? What is "black" description associated with? What is "white" description associated with? Oh, I know, it is a reference to the kind of skin colour, just as they would say someone is Short or Tall or has curly hair, but only that they have used "White" or "Black" for some description! But, what for? Ask yourself, why don't they and us discuss about and address those real human development matters without using these labels as "Blacks", what I have also referred to as "the politics of pigmentation"?

The sad truth and reality is, these anomalies are now taken in our normal legalized mainstream discussions, literature, reporting, including planning within public social services etc. In the western countries, allegedly in their efforts to fight injustices and prejudices, with policies such as equal opportunities and diversity, they monitor how many "Blacks" have been employed as an example. I clearly understand the positive intent here (as per what is written on paper) which is to keep tab that they know numbers are working as expected, say 3% of population is people from certain background or culture, perhaps here they refer as "Blacks" so perhaps a company will be well represented as a reflection of the area they are serving, so 3% of workforce can be our aim so they think, and to be seen to be doing just that, the Governments came up with all sorts of codes to make such representations. Ask yourself, is this helping? Are we addressing the real issues or looking for numbers that we can work with in our or their PowerPoint slides and at what cost to the labeled?? Just think about it!

In the 21st century, we need to reject those old and out of date labels, politics and practices that takes us back thousands of years, while paying some lip services of a just society. A just society will and should repel any form or shape of segregating people in a society. People should be encouraged to be valued based on their contribution to the humanity and development of society and not by what "label" they poses! If you listen to various speeches in America in the 60s, listen what word was pretty common in referring to African Americans or any people who have similar features and skin colour with African heritage. That word is now generally accepted as a derogatory word. The labeling of "blacks" belongs to the same place, confined to history.

Our efforts needs to be geared towards fighting against ignorance via education, diseases via health care and poverty via adequate and appropriate food production, combined with education, health care and self reliance, all tangled with taking full responsibilities for self and others. Indeed, as we take this fight, we have a solemnly duty to our internal self, and to others, to resist the easier temptation to jump into the bandwagon of those in the comfort, making you believe you are just another label. You have to remember that, if there were no labels, no oppressors will succeed, as common sense demands when addressing issues of common contentions, all to sit on the table and allow the strength of the argument of the subject matter to see the light of the day. Most than not, these strengths are what the potential oppressors with their agents can't take, can't tolerate, hence they will look for ways to avoid that real and serious discussion to redress the anomalies, the resultant outcome is the retaining of the status quo with labels, as this position in most cases than not, will always be defended by the few most powerful.

There shall come a time, just as we now see how awful and despicable it was: for the racism in America, in South Africa and the Slave Trade across the world, how awful and despicable as it was in those days! Remember, they all had forms of "legal" acceptance in the eyes of the oppressors as we do today with the label "blacks"! People in the mainstream fought back fiercely, and as always with human nature, it had to get to the boiling point, the system started to change, and is still changing. The remnants are very much still in place: the labeling with "blacks" or "whites", the ongoing grand corruption - which to me is neo-slavery, where fellow powerful country men with their agents, enslaves their own weaker majority people through somehow a sophisticated process, and as you can see a case of Tanzania, the people, the oppressed are and will continue fighting back.

Other remnants making a wall mark in Tanzania and perhaps across the majority of our African people are such notions that anything foreign or "white" person involved must be great, these are all sorts of twisted focus and where the informed have a duty to contribute in fighting this utter ignorance. The focus has to be genuine development against ignorance, diseases and poverty, with the "human", a person, right at the very heart of the efforts. A human being, whether they are Short, Tall, Caucasian, Asian, African - they are simply people, human beings, to borrow the famous phrase by the U.S. Declaration of Independence, "endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights" of which the intent is to express the concept that everyone has certain rights or given privileges, simply by virtue of being born into the world. Those inalienable rights or privileges from the creator, as conceived in the Declaration, are "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness! People have huge complexities and challenges with diversities in various cultures and we can navigate through all that without promoting and encouraging finger pointing culture. Most will say I am a dreamer! I agree. Perhaps I am one. We have seen many dreams come true. They started somewhere!

I have made a deliberate choice, not to accept any of the labels such as "black", using any language, including my own mother tongue, my own first language. As these labels is amongst what we have learned since we were born, we have to learn to re-educate ourselves and consciously right the wrongs. It is not easy, never will be. However, my conscious is very clearly decided, that I certainly must always refuse to tick to any of those boxes where they so wish to get numbers of "blacks" in any initiative I participate in. I believe we have a duty to personally reflect on this subject, and inform ourselves and our people, not to get into the labeling game. It doesn't help as a remedy to redress, it does not help the oppressed, it does not help constructively and in a positive way contributing to a greater purpose in humanity.

I am a Tanzanian, an African, and a citizen of the world. Isn't that "description" good enough?

© 2009 TEMU, A.B.S
* Photo on Soma Book Cafe courtesy of
Rehema Chachage

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Poetic Prose: Yonder Wonderland

I wander as I wonder
Trying to reach yonder
But I feel under

Am looking for a land
Thats as nice as grand
Yet as cheap as sand

Tell me my friend
Where can I find land
As forever as diamond

I wonder as I wander
Yet still I meander
While you ponder

Tuesday, March 10, 2009



DAY 1: Monday 13 April 2009

Poem Performance by Prof. Kofi Anyidoho

Nyerere Annual Lecture Part 1 on 'New Imperialisms' by Prof. Wole Soyinka

DAY 2: Tuesday 14 April 2009

Nyerere Annual Lecture Part 2 on 'New Imperialisms' by Prof. Wole Soyinka

Mwalimu Nyerere Documentary by M-Net

Special Song by Karola Kinasha

Premium Show of Mwalimu: The Legacy of Julius Kambarage Nyerere by ZIFF

DAY 3: Wednesday 15 April 2009

Nkrumah Centenary Lecture: ' Beyond His Place, Beyond His Time: Nkrumah's Heritage in the New Millenium' by Prof. Kofi Anyidoho

Kwame Nkrumah's Pan-Africanism - An Interactive Dialogue led by Prof. Joseph Oloka-Onyango

Thinking with Mwalimu - An Interactive Dialogue led by Prof. Issa Shivji

DAY 4: Thursday 16 April 2009

Introducing the Book 'The African Union and New Strategies for Development in Africa' edited by Said Adejumobi and Adebayo Olukoshi

Vice Chancellor's Palaver on 'Pan-Africanism and Development' led by Prof. Rwekaza Mukandala

Valedictory by Prof. Adebayo Olukoshi

DAY 5: Friday 17 April 2009

A Day of Academic Reflections: Symposium on the Teaching of History at the University of Dar-es-Salaam (UDSM)


Dear Wanazuoni:

I am very happy to inform you that the plans for the JULIUS NYERERE INTELLECTUAL FESTIVAL WEEK April 13th to 17th, 2009 have now been finalised. I am attaching the programme. We are expecting some 35 guests from outside, including, hopefully, Frantz Fanon’s son, Olivier, and Kwame Nkrumah’s son, Gamal. Professor Wole Soyinka will deliver the inaugural Nyerere Annual Lectures, 2009. A strong delegation from our pan-African research organisation
CODESRIA is expected. We are also expecting colleagues from Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa. There will be a series of inter-active dialogues on Mwalimu, Nkrumah and on issues pertaining to continental unity and development. The kaulimbiu of the Week is: binadamu wote ni sawa, Afrika ni Moja. Afrika Must Unite.

All the events are open to the public to attend and participate. I would personally like wanazuoni to be in the forefront to reflect on and discuss our continent. This is a great opportunity for us to begin to look for alternatives, to say bye-bye to the silly TINA [there is no alternative] syndrome of Margaret Thatcher. Please come in great numbers, participate fully and feel the force of the collective. Preceding the Week, we invite you to generate a big debate on pan-Africanism – in newspapers, in Radio and TV talk shows, in workshops and at busstops!. If you have anything written which you would like to place in newspapers or if you want to be part of a talk show, please liaise with
BASHIRU ALLY, the convenor of the publicity sub-committee who would help to place your piece in newspapers or find you a slot in a talk show.

Issa G. Shivji
Mwalimu Nyerere Professor of Pan-African Studies
University of Dar es Salaam
P. O. Box 35091
Dar es Salaam - Tanzania
Tel: 255-(0)22 - 2410 763
Cell: 255 (0) 754 475 372
Res. 255-(0)22-2118 620

What we don’t know about Dowans

Not so long ago Africa was overtly referred to as the ‘Dark Continent’. Now it is only covertly called so. Not least because of satellite images which shows it as lacking lights, that is, electricity, at night.

In fact when you look at those images you will see pockets of lights in those places, such as South Africa, that are considered to be, ‘exceptionally’, the ‘Europe of Africa’. If you happen to travel by a plane between Europe and Africa at night that contrast hits you hard. Oh, so, we are really in the dark.

‘Kipanya’, the Cartoonist, aptly captured this situation in the wake of the controversy over a quest to buy Dowans’ power generating plant. Kipanya is sitting outside a mud hut. He is listening to a battery radio. ‘Its better to stay in darkness rather than buy Dowans’ plant’, Kipanya hears the debate rage on.

‘The way they talk’, snap Kipanya out in the dark, ‘is as if the whole country has electricity.’ Indeed, as the latest ‘Household Budget Survey 2007’ notes, only 12 percent of the households are connected to – let alone supplied with – electricity. Here we are talking of nearly 9 million people out of 43 million.

In a way Kipanya’s cartoon is also a subtle attack on the recent statement made by the Tanzania Electric Supply Company’s (Tanesco) Managing Director, Dr. Idris Rashidi. The Director was quoted in the media as saying Tanesco has officially withdrawn its intention to buy Dowans’ plant, decrying political interference. However, he cautioned, the withdrawal might not be without dire consequences.

Said he: “Tanzanians will make their own judgments if the country is thrown into darkness again, when hospitals will not be offering services, industrial production will be crippled and students fail to study because we failed to act” (The Citizen 7 March 2009). Surely, as Kipanya insinuates, all these things have been happening to the majority of the citizenry, in varying intensity, since Independence.

I, for one, detest the politicization of professionalism. But what is so professional about a political decision to buy Dowans’ plant? I say ‘political’ because indeed politics is about the distribution – and exercise – of powers and resources. As such it is so important to separate the professional wheat from the political chaff in regard to the Dowans saga, that is, the national electricity grid saga since Uhuru.

Perhaps the best place to start this separation is in the annals of the meeting between the Parliamentary Committee for Public Accounts chaired by the fiery MP, Zitto Kabwe, and Tanesco. But, alas, we only have scanty details of all the ‘professional’ information that were disclosed therein. So, instead of bothering with what we don’t know, let us be a bit more historical and go back to the very beginning.

In ‘Africa’s Winds of Change: Memoirs of an International Tanzanian’, the former Minister responsible for Energy, Al Noor Kassum, documents how we ended up at the mercy of Dowans. I take the liberty to say so because it is a documentary of how we forfeited, nay, suspended an initiative that could provide us with a total capacity of 2,100 MW, 21 times more than the 100 MW from Dowans.

That initiative is what came to be known as the Stiegler’s Gorge Power Project. The gorge is located on the Rufiji River. According to Kassum, in 1979 they proposed to use it to generate electricity. To that end Halfslund/Norplan of Norway were consulted to prepare a feasibility study for the project.

It is this study, financed by the Norwegian government, that showed the said grand capacity then thus spaced over four phases: “At the end of Phase I (1990-95) the capacity would be 300 MW; at the end of Phase II (1995-2005) it would be 900 MW; at the end of Phases III and IV (2005-15) it would be 2,1000 MW. Thus, the capacity could be stepped up as demand increased over time. This would also spread the total cost over a longer period.”

Interestingly, these consultants estimated that the investment cost for all these phases would be USD 1,382 million - a mere two times the cost of Dowans’ plant in non real terms. They also noted that it could meet all of Tanzania’s projected power needs at least until 2010. Yes, indeed, until next year.

“Unfortunately”, laments Kassum, “we were unable to obtain financing for the project.” “Instead”, he further laments, “the Mtera Dam was built for half the cost of Stiegler’s Gorge project but supplied only 10 percent of the power that the other project would have made available.”

His ‘in hindsight lamentations’ doesn’t end there. Tanesco, he laments nostalgically, “spent almost the same amount that the Stiegler’s Gorge project would have cost on constructing many small power-generation plants that used fuel to produce electricity.” So, after all, we didn’t start thinking small now.

“Later”, Kassum winds up his regrets, “Mwalimu Nyerere told me it had been a mistake not to go ahead with the Stiegler’s Gorge project. Had the money spent on those power stations be used on the Stiegler’s Gorge project, electricity could have been supplied through cables to the whole country and we would not have the frequent power shortages that continue to plague Tanzania today.”

Full of hope, Kassum sums up by saying the “good news is that the current Government has announced its intention to revive the Stiegler’s Gorge project”. That was 2007. Today, two years later, in 2009, the scanty information we can gather from the meeting between Dr. Idris Rashidi and Hon. Zitto Kabwe’s teams is that Stiegler’s Gorge project among other projects have been delayed due to lack of funds etc.

It is the same old story. ‘We are poor’. ‘Our government doesn’t have the money.’ In such a context one can have the audacity to even think of Dowans’ 100 MW a year after the Richmondgate. All this implies that there is an urgent need to stop majoring in the minor. Let us now deal with what we know.

If we know so much about Richmond and its alleged twin Dowans then we would answer the rhetorical question that was posed by the then Prime Minister during his forced resignation because of all this electricity saga: ‘Put it on the table who is Richmond?’ Yes, put it on the table, who is Dowans?

© Chambi Chachage - The Citizen 10 March 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Response to an Article "KARUME VIPI TENA?"

This is a response to comments from the article below on what the President of Zanzibar, Amani Abeid Karume, said in the media clip below.

Kuwa Rais wa Nchi, unakuwa Rais wa wote, aliekuchagua na aliekupinga. Kusema maneno ya kukebeli walioacha kukuchagua ni dalili za ukosefu wa sifa bora za Uongozi bora katika safu ya Uongozi husika.

Vile vile, wale waliokupinga kukuchagua na kushindwa kushinda kwa hoja, wanayo nafasi yao kutoa mchango wao wa kujenga nchi bila kutumia njia za kejeli. Kabisa, wana wajibu, pia wanayo haki ya kuangalia na kupendekeza jinsi ya kuboresha na kujenga nchi ikiwa ni pamoja na kuangalia na kupendekeza jinsi ya kuboresha mifumo wanaoiona inarudisha nyuma nchi.

Kwa misingi hiyo, hivyo basi, challenge za vyama vya Upinzani kwa Chama kilichoshika Dola, ni wajibu na ni haki.

Wajibu unatakiwa kuwa unahusisha kulinda maslahi ya taifa - YA TAIFA. Sio maslahi ya sehemu moja ya Taifa hili letu ambalo tusipojivunia sie, hakuna ataekuja kutusaidia tujivunie.

Tuna nafasi ya kipekee kabisa ikilinganishwa na mataifa mengi ya Afrika, kwani Taifa hili letu liliundwa kwa Uongozi Jasiri wa Viongozi wawili waasisi, yaani Nyerere na Karume - ambao wote ni watu wa kutoka katika hii sasa tunayoiita, Tanzania nchi yetu.

Hizi habari za kusema Wapemba na Wazanzibari au Wazanzibara au Wabara, ni habari za kugawa watu na hazina maslahi ya Kitaifa ya muda mrefu. Zinaweza kuwa na maslahi ya sehemu moja kwa muda mfupi kwa watu wachache watakaoweza kukimbilia kuanzisha "national" anthems, flags, passports, seat at International organizations such as UN, 21 salute guns etc let alone their host of "executive officials" with interests to keep their "own" interests going they will continue building their locale against the rest of the country. Kwa kifupi ni power to rule others in their locale. This is one of the weakness Nyerere confessed or cautioned when he was negotiating for Independence of Tanganyika, implying he would have been willing to wait so that East Africa achieved independence as a Federated country.[as mentioned in his speech at 40th anniversary of Ghana's Independence - 1*]

My call to all fellow Tanzanians as far as the union is concerned is that, let us be proud of Union of Tanzania and let us make it even stronger (or think of ways to, and act) rather than throwing questions and connotations questioning the legality and wisdom of Nyerere and Karume to have created the Union. You need to reflect and realize that, you never had Tanganyika. You had a series of small tribes with local chiefs who had their own territories. They were not consulted when Tanganyika got created. Worse enough, they or rather their descendants "found" they had a country called Tanganyika created by the 1885 Berlin conference by the invaders of their collective empires. However, we did have our own "small countries" within a region that came to be known as Tanganyika. Zanzibar, Unguja and Pemba had similar with a series of foreign invasions and administrations from the Portuguese people, the Sultans and the British.

Some may argue and finally a so called Tanganyika facilitated the invasion [2*], but I choose to see it differently. The national movements leaders of the time, with their weaker and younger "nations", they had to be fast and strategic to realize how they could strengthen their territory and create a stronger country of Unity. Nyerere in particular, knew the challenges some fellow country people will create for his vision of a United Africa through Pan Africanism ([1*], but they did go ahead. Sadly there were a lot of Killings in Zanzibar.

Tanzania as country, is still on the march! The Tanzanian History is not written yet. We are all writing it together. When the history of Tanzania is written anywhere with inferences that our people did not shed blood, that will be misleading. It is perhaps right to state that the history of the efforts of Nyerere's TANU to rid of the British direct rule for a home self rule, did not shed blood. Surely the formation of Tanzania had blood shed at the start [2*], as we know what happened with Zanzibar revolution as well as other regions within what was called Tanganyika, such as Majimaji Wars and other African "kingdoms" within the colonial administrative region then known as Tanganyika.

The message here is simple. Tanzania is being formed and created by all of us now proudly identified as Tanzanians. Nyerere and Karume were the Leaders who facilitated the founding. It is up to our generations to protect the Union and fight to keep it even stronger. It is up to us to develop it. Our identity is Tanzania. In our identity as far as Utawala wetu, we need to fight and protect union with awakening spirit realizing that we have no "Utawala wa Mangi Mkuu", we have no "Utawala wa Mkwawa", we have no "Utawala wa Wapemba" we have no "Utawala wa WaUnguja", we have no "Utawala wa Tanganyika from of Berlin 1885 Conference. We have "Utawala wa Tanzania". Tanzania ni yetu sote. Ni nchi yetu. Huo ndio utawala tunaotakiwa kuupigania uboreshwe katika ngazi zote. Sio kwa sababu wewe uko eneo la Mangi Mkuu au Mkwawa au Unguja au Pemba au colonial Administrative Tanganyika.

Why don't we gear the energy towards development activities at the grassroots level in the country, in the process bring the political reforms? Without development of people, the same vicious circles of poverty will continue to produce same type of rulers, replacing same wine with new bottle! What is the difference between the majority of people ruled under colonial Tanganyika or Sultan Zanzibar, and today's Tanzania under the fellow Tanzanians? The general wisdom and assumption is that the colonial rule was very bad for the majority of Tanzanians. This is a historical fact considering the British having to suspend education for our people for 10 years after chasing the Germans out. Gives a clear intention they had as we all know, after 43 years of British rule, 85% of the adult population remained illiterate. When Nyerere took the country, he had 2 trained Engineers and 12 doctors! When Nyerere left, there was 91% literacy and nearly every child was in school. Nyerere's era trained thousands of engineers and doctors. Go and check the current stats (2008) where literacy is rated as circa 69.85% when combining men and women [3*]. Huge step still, from 15% to 91% (Nyerere's) or (69.85%).

47 years of self rule can tell us what works and what doesn't. I would have expected the pace in attaining and promoting what works would have been at a speed of light - as we know it works. If the colonial administration was "that bad" are the Tanzanians legislatures and rulers of modern day Tanzania using some of the same old laws and at times style, to govern the country? The same laws and style they fought to eliminate in a first place?

The country is now fighting grand corruption and this is the fight we MUST all fight fiercely as the powers and challenges behind these malpractice are even bigger than what Nyerere and his people then fought the British to establish the home rule.

It is a bigger struggle because, those entrusted with the leadership of our young nation (47 years old Dec 2008), besides some being leaders of corruption at a grand scale, they are still our own mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunties, uncles, friends, they are not foreigners who have invaded the country. They are one amongst us. They may collaborate with foreigners, but they have a choice not to.

My friends, that is where the fight is ought to be. It comes in different forms, including changing some electoral laws across the union and adapting complete overhauling approach to systems that allow bad practice to flourish. JK of pre Tanzania had full support to bring the home rule, and he succeeded. JK of 2008 enjoyed a landslide victory hence safe to deduce full support from the majority of ordinary people - the voters. He needs to move at a speed of light (remember the office term is only 10 years) to create a strong base that will rid corrupt practices and or create and promote zero tolerant approach to all these bad and selfish behaviors of some of our leaders.
A national unifying system that will ensure the voters and tax payers who are technically the employers of politicians, do indeed have the power to hire and fire.

Further Reading:
[1*] Kwame Nkrumah & African Unity (Vigour, Commitment & Sincerity). Speech on 40th anniversary of Ghana Independence, Accra, Ghana 6 March 1997 -
[2*] ZANZIBAR: THE HUNDRED DAYS' REVOLUTION (ESAU XXX) - [you may download the Zanzibar - esau-28.pdf]

© Apollo BS Temu 2009
Photo/Audio courtesy of SS

On 2008/5/25 Yona Fares Maro <> posted:

Bw. Karume anatoa taarifa kwa wanahabari kuwa Wapemba hawakumchagua ndio maana hakuwapanga katika wizara na sehemu nyengine nyeti za Serikali ya Zanzibar, hivi nani anaushahidi kuwa Karume kachaguliwa na CCM zanzibar? Hivi si Mkapa ndie aliemlazimisha kwa vitisho Dr. Ghraib Bilal kuachia ngazi? [Na] ambae ndie alikuwa chaguo la CCM Zanzibar.

Sasa Karume leo hii anasema utumbe kama ule haoni kuwa anawadhalilisha wazanzibari na kuwakejeli? Sasa kama wapemba hawakumchagua kwa nini haachani nao na kuwapa uhuru wao? Hii ndio demokrasia ya CCM? Wanakjidai kuwa eti! wameondoa wakoloni, Tanganyika leo hii si Mkoloni kwa Zanzibar? wakati nyerere ndie alietoa fikra za kuanzisha ASP na kupanga mapinduzi ya tar 12 Januari? Wakuja ndio waliofanya mauaji kwa Wasomi na wazanzibari wasio na hatia?

Vipi leo hii wapemba wasipewe haki yao ya kimaumbile kuchagua watakalo? Hata karafuu yao hawaruhusiwi kuuza watakapo, lakini watanganyika kule kila siku madege yanaruka na kutua kusafirisha samaki na pamba na mali za machimbo yao raha mustarehe. Sisi wazanzibari yaani hatujui kufanya biashara hizo, hatujui wapi tukauze biashara zetu? Hivi huu ndio usawa wa serikali ya Muungano? Hii ndio demokrasia ya CCM na Usawa kwa watanzania wote?

Jamani tuamkeni tujue nini tunahitaji na nini halitufai! Waachieni wapemba wachague wapi waende, Ndio! Visiwa vya Zanzibar havina historia ya kuungana, kwa hivyo ni rahisi kutengana kwa sababu hakuna mkataba wowote uliopo kama vimeungana. Kama havijaungana balaa inakuwa hivi mwasema haviwezi tengana je kama vimeungana kama Muungano wa Tanganyika na Zanzibar ingekuwa Vipi? Si balaa na kiama?

Yona Maro is a freelance writer and online researcher based Tanzania and frequently contributes to Tip s and Topics. He has published numerous articles in local and regional publications on a wide range of topics, including Business, ICT, Education, Arts, and Local events +255 784 360204.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Because the IMF says so?

In an interesting move the President paid a surprise visit to the Dar-es-Salaam harbour on Monday, 2 March 2009. The surprise came just over a month after a presidential directive to decongest the port. It is also coming a week before the Tanzania and IMF summit ‘Changes: Successful Partnership for Africa’s Growth Challenge’ that will be co-hosted here in Dar-es-Salaam in 10 – 11 March 2009.

But, one may ask, what does the ‘persistent port congestion’ has to do with the IMF? Why keep sloganeering against the IMF through your own (national) problems? After all isn’t the IMF changing?

The answers are found in a “Letter of Intent of the government of Tanzania, which describes the policies that Tanzania intends to implement in the context of its request for a policy support instrument from the IMF.” The said letter, dated 3 December 2008, is made available at by agreement as a service to IMF website users.

Revealingly, this ‘Letter of Intent, Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies, and Technical Memorandum of Understanding’ lists import clearance as part and parcel of IMF’s Policy Support Instrument (PSI) for Tanzania. But, one may ask again, what exactly is PSI? What does it have to do with port congestion? Are we so stuck to the extent that we need policy support to decongest our port?

Well, according to IMF’s ‘Factsheet – November 2008’ prepared by its External Relations Department, the PSI, “introduced in 2005, enables the IMF to support low-income countries that do not want – or need – Fund financial assistance.” So, after all, it is not about IMF’s ‘money’! Really?

The reality, as the Factsheet further reveals, is that the “PSI helps countries design effective economic programs that, once approved by the IMF’s Executive Board, signals to donors, multilateral development banks, and markets the Fund’s endorsement of members policies.” Underline, that is, note very well the keywords ‘signals’ and ‘endorsement.’

These two keywords are particularly important in a country that has a national budget that is heavily financed by donors – by nearly 42 percent in 2007/8 and 33 percent in 2008/9 – and that is attempting to be a market economy. No wonder in the wake of grand corruption scandals on the External Payment Arrears (EPA) and the Bank of Tanzania’s (BOT) Twin Towers donors hesitated to support the budget.

It is these ‘hesitations’ that need IMF’s signaling. In fact the IMF Factsheet defines “signaling” as “the information that Fund activities can indirectly provide about countries’ performances and prospects.” “Such information”, the Factsheet further notes, “can be used to inform the decisions of outsiders.”

Those outsiders, we are told, “can include private creditors, including banks and bondholders, who are interested in information on the repayment prospects of loans; official donors and creditors, both bilateral and multilateral, who may be interested in reassurance about the countries they are supporting; and the public at large.”

In low-income countries such as Tanzania, the Factsheet affirms, “such signals previously have been sent mainly in the context of the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), and the related Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) process.” Lest we forget, that process was an adjustment to the devastating Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs). Ironically, it has now been adjusted to become our ‘own-ed’ National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP/MKUKUTA).

The moment we succumb to historical amnesia under the guise of ‘changes’ subtly piggybacked from Obamamania sloganeering we lose sight of why we tend to do the things the (pathetic) ways we do them. We lose sight of the fact that ‘poverty reduction’ has never been the actual meeting point between Tanzania and the IMF. Nor has it been ‘growth’ either. It has simply been business, as usual.

When we become that historical myopic we forget a Noma Award Economic historian reminder that the IMF and the World Bank “didn’t live up to their advanced billing as possible saviours of Africa” through SAPs. Rather, “they participated in the gory feast of milking Africa dry” whereby, according to the United Nations’ 1988 Report on ‘Financing Africa’s Recovery’, in “1986 and 1987 alone there was a net transfer of close to $1 billion from sub-Saharan African countries alone to the IMF.”

Our meeting point with the IMF is what has ironically been abbreviated LIMP – Liberalize, Marketize and Privatize. We are ‘limping’. That is what we have been doing since we gave up on Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere’s inspired rhetorical query: ‘Who made the IMF the International Ministry of Finance?’

All this donor politics prompts us to thus “regularly update the IMF” in our Letter of Intent on their PSI: “Progress with the integration of the Customs and Excise Department’s and TISCAN’s system has continued, and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2008 by which time importers will only be required to file a single import declaration…In addition, the plan prepared for a successful transition from private contractors in custom (TISCAN and NECOR) is being implemented as planned.”

Arguably, it is such delays in what the Letter of Intent refers to as “TISCAN’s import clearance processes” that made the President lash “out at Dar-es-Salaam port authorities during a surprise visit to the habour” (The Citizen 3 March 2008). It made him say the “laxity must not be tolerated anymore.”

Surely the presidential move is laudable. Not because the IMF says so. But because Tanzanians say so.

© Chambi Chachage

Source: The Citizen 4 March 2009

Kwa kuwa tumeamua kufa na wawekezaji

Mwaka jana kipindi hiki nchi ilitikisika. Kamati teule ya Bunge ya kuchunguza utoaji wa zabuni ya kuzalisha umeme kwa kampuni ya Richmond ilitikisa wenyenchi. Ripoti yake ikatufanya wananchi tutikise vichwa.

Kwa mbwembwe nyingi, Mwenyekiti wa Kamati hiyo, Dakta Harrison Mwakyembe (MB), aliisoma ripoti hiyo mbele ya wawakilishi wa wananchi. Miongoni mwa sentensi alizotumia kwa umahiri kuelezea kwa nini tuliingia kwenye mkataba huo tete ni ile ya “kwa kuwa Watanzania tulishaamua kufa na Richmond, tukasonga mbele!”

Naam, ni kweli kabisa tuliamua kufa na Richmond kama ambavyo tuliamua, tumeamua na –
Mungu apishilie mbali – tutaamua kufa na mambo mengi tu. Moja ya masuala ambayo tuliamua na pengine bado tumeamua kufa nayo ni suala la uwekezaji. Kwa hilo tumeamua kusonga mbele.

Wataalamu wetu hutuambia bila kutafiti huna haki ya kunena. Hivyo, hatuna budi kunukuu takwimu zao. Ni dhahiri kuwa kiwango cha uwekezaji kimeongezeka sana toka tulipofungua milango na madirisha ya sera na sheria zetu. Taarifa za Kituo cha Uwekezaji Tanzania (TIC) zinathibitisha hilo – mwaka 2008 kiwango hiki kilikua kwa karibia asilimia 25 zaidi ya cha 2007.

Hakika kazi ya kubinafsisha mashirika na mali za umma kwa wawekezaji inafanyika. Kazi hii ni nzito sana ndio maana iliyokuwa Tume ya Rais ya Kurekebisha Mashirika ya Umma (PSRC) iliomba iongezewe muda mwishoni mwa mwaka 2007 ili imalizie kazi hiyo. Ila haikuongezewa.

Kwa mujibu wa Tume hiyo, hadi kufikia 30 Juni 2007 ilikuwa imeshamaliza shughuli 1,002 za kubinafsisha au kuhamisha umiliki – ama kwa uuzaji, ubia, ugawaji, ukodishaji au ufilisi – wa mashirika 336 kati ya 361 yaliyoorodheshwa, na mali 666. Kazi yote hiyo iliifanya toka mwaka 1993. Hiyo ilikuwa ni mara tu baada ya kutungwa kwa sera ya uwekezaji mnamo mwaka 1992.

Haya yote yalianza kufanyika licha ya muasisi mkuu wa mashirika hayo ya umma, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, kulaani ubinafsishaji wa kila kitu. Mwalimu alisisitiza kuwa tunachohangaika kukibinafsha ni kitu, ni kitu fulani tulichokijenga. Na akatukumbusha kuwa tunaota tunapodhani kuwa tukibinafsisha kila kitu, mpaka jela zetu, basi wawekezaji wa nje watatukimbilia kwa kasi.

Kwa uchungu Mwalimu akatusihi kuwa “sasa tusikubali tusikubali tuwacheke wajinga wale nani anataka anataka mashirika yetu yafe ndiyo kataeni kabisa kabisa ndiyo ya kwao hayafi mbona hala kuja kuua mashirika yetu bwana?” Lakini wapi tukakubali. Tukaamua kufa na wawekezaji.

Hivyo basi, tukajikuta kwa nguvu nyingi tunatumia zaidi ya miaka 17 kutafuta wawekezaji huko, pale na kule. Tukawa kama wavu wa kutega panya. Lo, tukavua waliomo na wasiokuwemo.

Kwa mfano, ilituchukua miaka 12 kutafuta na kupata mwekezaji wa kilichokuwa Kiwanda cha Karatasi cha Mgololo (SPM). Na hata baada ya kumpata tukajikuta tuna mjadala mkali Bungeni kuhusu kama huyo mwekezaji ndiye mwekezaji halisi au anatumiwa tu. Hilo tukaliundia kamati.

Hizi juhudi zetu za kufa na wawekezaji zikamfanya Waziri anayehusika na Viwanda kujitutumua Bungeni kueleza kuwa huyo mwekezaji baada ya kununua SPM ndio akampata mwenzake wa kufufua naye kiwanda. Akadai hivyo ndivyo zile hisa 100 alizokuwa nazo mwekezaji akapewa huyo mwenza. Akasisitiza kuwa hili ni suala la kawaida katika biashara na BRELA ina taarifa.

Kuhusu wasifu wa huyo mwenza, Waziri akasema “na bahati nzuri tumehangaika kueleweshana, tumepiga simu Registrar of Companies, British Virgin Island na kuongea na Afisa anayeitwa Benedin Smith na kupata taarifa zifuatazo…wanayo kwenye rekodi zao kampuni inayoitwa Angel Hurst Industries Limited, yenye namba za usajili 395195, taarifa anazotoa ni jina na namba za usajili tu, ukitaka anything more ni lazima ufanye official search na kulipa dola 25. Kwa hiyo, tumejitahidi na katika kupata ukweli tutafanya wote, ukweli wa Watanzania wote.”

Hapo ndipo wadadisi wa mambo wanapojiuliza: Inakuwaje mali iwe yetu wenyewe na bado tupate shida hivyo kupata taarifa za tunaowabinafsishia mali yetu? Au ndio mambo ya mteja ni mfalme? Kama mteja kweli ni mfalme ina maana muuzaji ni mtumwa?

Katika ziara yake katika mashamba yaliyobinafsishwa kwa wawekezaji huko Hanang, Rais naye akaombwa na waanchi awarudishie mashamba hayo. Kilichowafanya watoe ombi hilo ni uhaba wa ardhi ya kulima na kuchunga na ukweli kuwa wawekezaji hawawezi kulima ardhi yote.

Hata hivyo, Rais akanukuliwa na HabariLeo (17/09/2008) akiwajibu: “Hilo la mashamba mimi siwezi kuwapatia, yale ni mashamba ya watu siwezi kuwagawia ninyi…Hayo mashamba ni sisi wenyewe tumeshindwa kuyaendesha, tumeamua kuwapatia wawekezaji ambao wameanza kuyafufua polepole, tutakachofanya sisi serikali ni kuwataka waongeze kasi ili na nyinyi muweze kupata ajira…Pale hakukuwa na meneja ambaye ni Mzungu au Mhindi. Ni sisi wenyewe Waswahili ndio ambao tumeyaua…Acheni maneno maneno, tusiwe mafundi wa kusema mameneja tulikuwa sisi wenyewe, miluzi mingi humpoteza mbwa…”

Hii ndio halisi. Tafiti na tathmini mbalimbali za taasisi za Serikali na zisizo za Serikali zinaonesha kuna wawekezaji ambao uwezo wao wa kulima ardhi ya umma waliyobinafsishiwa ni mdogo. Wengine wanadiriki hata kukodisha vipande vya mashamba husika kwa wananchi wenye uhaba wa ardhi na ambao wanaililia Serikali iwagawie mashamba hayo wayalime ili tule.

Kwa nini tunawakumbatia wawekezaji uchwara? Je, ni kwa sababu tumeamua kufa na wawekezaji au kuna sababu zingine zilizojificha? Nini kinatufanya tuukate mkono unaotulisha?

Hivi ni takwimu gani zinaonesha kuwa wanaolilisha taifa hili ni wawekezaji waliowekeza katika kilimo? Ni lini tutaachana na biashara ya kuzalisha njaa kwa kutowapa wakulima wanaotulisha kipaumbele? Au tunasubiri wawekezaji wageuze mashamba yetu yote yawe ya mibono kaburi?

Mwandishi: Chambi Chachage

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Performance Management in Public Offices

Objectives of any ministry or organization would be expected to be set by the top leadership/management, and these cascade all the way down to the people on the floor workshop. It needs to be structured such that the outcome of such objectives are clear, with realistic targets and measures in place, so that team members gets to enlist what of their periodical activities (say monthly) will contribute to the overall outcome objective. If everyone in the chain of command does this, then the principles of Performance Management will be in place.

Another measure required is to link the Performance outcome with rewards and recognition where deserved, and development opportunities or even disciplinary actions or dismissal as appropriate. The key is to ensure the process of setting these objectives is participatory, with clear steer from the leadership, and that all objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.

Performance management need not to be used as a punitive tool for those not delivering. Otherwise you will only be creating a culture of resentment. It ought to be used as a tool for developing individuals and their teams, and get the best out of people. It does not mean the system cannot at times get applied inappropriately.

I once recall reading in the print press in Dar Es Salaam, the then Objectives of the office of the Prime Minister (when Edward Lowassa was a Premier), and was surprised to see how vague they were. We can't keep passing the blames to the Public officials without giving a clear strategic and tactical direction on how the Performance Management is to be done, provide the necessary training to the personnel and line managers, and actually stick to the plan. If not in place, the government and all Public institutions should all ensure to have robust Performance Management process in place, with process owner and clear lines of appropriate responsibilities and accountability.

Temu, A.B.S © 2009

Photo courtesy of


Source of Debate :

Pinda calls for beefing up of HR departments

2009-03-03 10:35:51
By Guardian Reporter

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda has said human resource managers have failed the public and urged that the area be looked at more critically.

In his speech at a conference on good governance read on his behalf by Zanzibar Chief Minister Shamsi Vuai Nahodha, the Premier said: ``Experience indicates that human resources management in African public services has failed to perform its strategic role in development.``

Giving a reason for the sad state of affairs, Pinda said the sector was manned by people who were not qualified human resources professionals.

Pinda said this happened mainly because the human resource department and human resource practices were not given adequate recognition in the public service system.

``Human resources developments are also uncoordinated and fragmented. These problems have led to inadequate training, wastage and misplacement of personnel as well as poor monitoring mechanisms to determine the capacity and productivity of the trained personnel,`` said the premier.

In his introductory remarks, Lynelle Briggs, an Australian public service commissioner, said performance management was a critical component of managing the workforce effectively.

Citing an Australian example, Briggs said their state of the service survey had found that the majority of staff in the public service rated factors such as feedback, realistic performance expectations and clear work plans as important to improving or maintaining their productivity in the next 12 months.

She said the key lessons they had learned over the years allowed them to observe that performance management relied on a three-level approach to ensure that performance management systems achieved desired outcomes, were supported by employees, and were effective in managing various aspects of performance.

Briggs said the responsibility for making performance management a success lied with individual employees (who must take ownership of their own performance), their immediate managers and senior executives.

The commissioner said addressing underperformance issues effectively continued to be the area where there was room for improvement.

Phillemon Luhanjo, chief secretary and head of public service, urged his fellow officers to take all necessary steps designed to improve and bolster the human resource function in core areas, including those of planning, recruitment and selection, staff development and performance management.

George Yambesi , permanent secretary, Public Service Management, said in his welcoming statement that the training event was designed to enhance the capacities and competencies of delegates from Commonwealth African countries in the area of human resource management. He said the training was aimed at exploring the application of the merit principles in multiple jurisdictions and discuss the advantages and drawbacks of each model.

The training has gathered delegates from Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Mauritius representing Africa.

Other Commonwealth Countries represented in the gathering include Canada, the United Kingdom, Barbados, India, Malaysia, Malta and Jamaica.

Karibu kwenye ulingo wa kutafakari kuhusu tunapotoka,tulipo,tuendako na namna ambavyo tutafika huko tuendako/Welcome to a platform for reflecting on where we are coming from, where we are, where we are going and how we will get there

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